It’s not often I look at the menu and start drooling. But suddenly, in the middle of Boscombe on a literally freezing cold day, that’s exactly what I find myself doing. One minute I’m sliding onto one of the smallest chairs I’ve ever sat on, taking in the Bohemian-cool room – wooden features, bare-brick walls and lights made from paper cups – and the next, menu in hand, I’m fighting the urge to order every single unusual and tempting dish on the Bosconova menu.
Shoving the boundaries of the average British Café to the side, Bosconova’s creators have designed to such clever effect; although things appear to be as mismatched as the fonts on the single-paged menu, I get the sneaky suspicion it’s all done with purpose. It looks homely and inviting, whilst still exerting a touch of unusualness and interest, every design aspect is intriguing and just about everything in the place is the epitome of cool. That goes for the waiters too, who wouldn’t look out of place on the set of T4, kitted out in sleeveless black shirts, low-cut jeans and hairstyles that probably took forever but are supposed to look effortless – they’re friendly and beaming as much as their customers, and it seems the whole happy vibe at Bosconova rubs off on both the clientele and the workers.
Registering the presence of a scruffily-cool student-type sitting at an adjacent table tapping his feet to the music from his earphones, I look around the room and notice not a single table of customers are alike. There are business people talking urgently about, well, business, as well as a family of happy-campers, of which the child is dressed as a fully-fledged fireman, plastic hose-pipe and all. And gathered amongst an array of mismatched chairs are a group of students, a few locals, a tourist or two and an elderly couple holding hands. Check out the Bournemouth’s newest Sushi Bar officially launches.
I sit down and ponder over the interesting collection of customers, noticing the welcoming vibe and how un-out-of-place I feel, and get down to the nitty gritty – what to eat. The menu is an unlikely collection of exciting café alternatives. Bosconova is like the stereotypical café in as much as its laidback vibe and relaxed feel, but it’s a stereotypical café that has been launched into the 21st century where it should be; no more ready-made Lasagnes and Shepard’s Pie with Frozen Peas. There is a healthy amount of vegetarian options that even appeal to a devoted carnivore like me, and a real focus on interesting, well-priced dishes – all homemade.
I order a Quesadilla and Soup of the Day Combo at £6.95 and it arrives on a wooden chopping board – it’s quirky and unusual, and a great modern twist on the soup and sarnie combo. As I tuck into my Potato, Cheese and Chorizo Quesadilla I realise Bosconova definitely has the substance to match the style; the meaty chunks of chewy sausage are flavourful and subtly spiced, they go well with the chunks of piping hot, fried potato and just the right amount of melted cheese to stick the whole thing together. The Chipotle Lime Mayo served on the side is a lovely addition with a feisty chilli and garlic kick.
The soup today is Caribbean Sweet Potato with Creamy Coconut. Its sweet and spicy taste is unusual but delicious, with good flavours of coconut, tomato and garlic. It’s hearty, scrumptious and warming, dressed with a few shavings of real coconut.
I happily finish my meal, and catch a glimpse of a food item I have deemed to be my Achilles heel – Chocolate Brownie. Without further ado, I order a portion and a few minutes later tuck into a warm slice of cocoa heaven. If you like your chocolate desserts ultra-chocolaty, then this is the one for you. It’s dense and utterly gooey in the middle and so undeniably rich with real chocolate, the smallish slice of brownie is enough, even for me.
It’s places like Bosconova that are helping put Boscombe on the map, and in a neighbourhood that is not over-endowed with brilliant eateries (although they’re slowly starting to pop up), it would be a shame if every single Bournemouth and Boscombe inhabitant didn’t get their feet well and truly under a Bosconova table.